Annual event calendar for the Santa Monica Pier includes concerts, festivals, and seaside fun.
Each year millions of people visit the Santa Monica Pier to enjoy the rides, games, and sweeping views of the beach. The Pier is also a popular location for live music, food festivals, and seasonal events for the whole family. When planning your next trip to Santa Monica or looking for fun things to do this weekend on the West side of Los Angeles, be sure to check out our jam-packed events calendar.
Winter break at the Santa Monica Pier includes extended hours to accommodate the thousands of fans who travel to LA every January to take part in the Tournament of Roses Parade that takes place in Pasadena. Marching bands and college football fans all visit the Pier during this time and it’s not uncommon to see one of these marching bands perform at the West end of the Pier.
In Mid-January, check out the annual The Arnold Strongman USA Championship where the world’s strongest men lift barrels, pull fire trucks, and raise money for California Fire Fighters.
Lunar New Year takes place in late January or early February every year. You can learn more about this festive holiday at Santa Monica Place where lion dancers perform in the central courtyard. In the evening, checkout the themed lights on the Pacific Wheel where Santa Monica wishes everyone a ‘Happy New Year’ in Mandarin.
The Pier is one of the best places to celebrate Valentine’s Day. From fine dining at The Lobster to just enjoying a romantic stroll along the Pier with your significant other, the Pier offers something for all couples. Listen to live music on the Pier while sharing a ride on the Ferris wheel and gazing out at cotton-candy colored sunset is often regarded as one of the most romantic places in Los Angeles any day of the year.
The weekend of Oscars, Santa Monica beach plays host to the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Their huge white tent pops up by the Pier and fans can come get a glimpse of their favorite stars as they arrive Saturday night.
Spring is one of the best times to visit the Pier for locals and those hoping to avoid the busy summer months. The Pier celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with an emerald-green light program on the Ferris wheel. Later in March, the amusement park will extend hours for Spring Break.
ROGA (Run+Yoga) begins; this free run and yoga class is presented by the Pier Corporation and takes place every Saturday morning during the spring and summer. Meet under the Pier sign at 8 AM.
Spring Break hours are officially scheduled for the week before and after Easter weekend, but some years the busy spring break weeks may be extended depending on school schedules. The Park may be open from 11 AM – 11 PM during this time (as always, check pacpark.com/hours when planning your trip).
The Jacob Jonas Dance company presents To the Sea, a free three-night dance festival at the West end of the Pier featuring local, national and international performers.
Hush Concerts begin; these free, nightly dance concerts happen at the West end of the Pier the 3rd Saturday evening of the month from April to September. The events start at 8 PM and are free to attend, but you need to rent a headset to get in on the jams.
On May 5th, the Pacific Wheel is Red, Green and White for Cinco de Mayo.
The amusement park goes into extended hours for summer starting Memorial Day Weekend; this is typically one of the busiest weekends for the Pier and great time for people watching.
Help raise money for kids at the Pedal on the Pier, a 4 hour cycling event, food fair and party on the Pier deck outside Pacific Park’s east gate, to raise funds to send underserved children to Camp Ubuntu through the Harold Robinson Foundation.
Santa Monica celebrates Pride month with events all over the city and a rainbow of lights extending from 3rd Street Promenade to the Pier.
The Copa Cabana Soccer tournament takes place on the beaches north of the Pier. Hundreds of youth soccer teams compete in beach soccer on the sand.
See elite Standup Paddle Boarders race around the Santa Monica Pier at the long-running Santa Monica Paddle Board Race, also called Pier 360. The weekend long event features live music, food, and ocean sports competitions.
During the week of 4th of July, the amusement park extends hours so visitors can make the most out of a day at the beach as this is one of the most popular weeks to visit the Pier. Stay late to check out the special red, white, and blue light program on the Pacific Wheel at night.
On the morning of 4th of July, head on over to Main Street to see the annual Santa Monica Independence Day Parade; you might even see Pacific Park’s beloved mascot Inkie waving a friendly tentacle!
Join members of the Santa Monica Police Department at local parks in Santa Monica for National Night Out. This annual event is celebrated across the country and is an opportunity for members of the public to mix and mingle with the law enforcement officers that serve their communities.
On the 3rd Wednesday in August, the Twilight Concert Series begins. Also known as Twilight on the Pier, this 6-week music festival brings acts from all over the globe to the Twilight Stage each Wednesday evening.
Labor Day marks the end of summer. The amusement park will return to their off-peak schedule closing a little earlier in the evenings.
At the West end of the Pier you can check out the Save the Pier Play and learn about the history of the Santa Monica Pier and the local communities efforts to preserve it over the years.
PALpalooza takes place for an evening each autumn. Hundreds of kids from Police Activities Leagues all over Southern California come to play at Pacific Park; the event raises funds for Santa Monica PAL.
In late September, West side residents and Pier guests enjoy the sounds of the LA Opera by the Beach in a live telecast from the Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA.
October 4th is National Taco Day and competitive eaters from all over the world come to Pacific Park to participate the Taco Eating Championship, sanctioned by Major League Eating.
Pacific Park hosts Pier del Sol. This annual event is an opportunity for Special Olympics Athletes to enjoy the rides and games at the Park all while raising money for the Special Olympics of Southern California.
The Bay Foundation also comes to the Santa Monica Pier in October for their annual gala, Coastal Connections, out over the waters of the very Bay they fundraise to protect.
On the Pier deck, chefs from all over Los Angeles take part in Off The Hook Seafood Fest. This 4-hour event offers attendees all-you-can eat seafood bites from over 2-dozen restaurants.
As the days get shorter, the Pier gets spookier. See an 80-foot high ghost fly over the face of the Pacific Wheel as it goes all orange for Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos.
Every November film makers from all over the world descend on Santa Monica for the American Film Market conference and show.
UCLA Medical hosts the Mattel Party on the Pier, a fundraiser for children’s medical research.
Pacific Park extends hours the week of Thanksgiving; Angelenos bring their family members visiting form out of town to enjoy rides, play games, and take a break from Black Friday shopping.
Seasonal holiday celebrations at the Santa Monica Pier start before Thanksgiving and through the winter break. Guests can expect free children’s programing from the Bob Baker Marionette company, story time readings at the merry-go-round, and extended operating hours at Pacific Park.
The Pacific Wheel gets in the holiday spirit displaying festive holiday patterns and icons like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Reindeer.
On New Year’s Eve, the Ferris wheel displays an 80-foot tall countdown that can be seen from the Pier or on Pacific Park’s live-streaming web cams.
Events dates and details subject to change. Sign up for the Loop to be notified of events and happenings at the Santa Monica Pier.